Cole Williams enjoyed a triumphant return to his home track of Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana on Saturday night. Williams, a native of Borden, Indiana native, was able to get it done and visit victory lane in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event at his home track.
Williams put on a dominating performance, taking the lead after a Lap 7 restart and leading the last 93 laps. Despite his domination, he had to fend off a hard-charging Corey Deuser after a restart with 12 laps to go to pick up the win.
“It was really good; the car did everything I wanted it to do throughout the whole race,” Williams told Speed51.com. “This place really eats tires away, even though we were running a stiffer compound on the left side than we usually do. I knew if I could get out front, which we built up a pretty good lead there, I just needed to ride as much as I can to save the right rear and right front. That was the gameplan all along, and it ended up working for us for the longest time.
“It got a little racy at the end on that last restart. We don’t know what happened; we think something broke that last ten laps and we were just kind of hanging on for dear life. But she stayed together for those last ten laps and we ended up winning it, so I’m happy with it.”
It was a battle of attrition throughout much of the race, with several cars dropping out before the end of 100 laps due to mechanical problems that were triggered in part due to the 90+ degree heat blanketing Southern Indiana.
“It was superhot, we were actually running hot most of the race and anytime we had a caution, we had all the fans on to try to cool it down as much as it could,” Williams explained. “We really didn’t have a problem with it overheating, so we were one of the lucky ones tonight. Jack Smith actually talked to me and he said he had a problem like that when he got up to second before he ended up getting the wall.”
Fast qualifier Corey Deuser ran around mid-pack for the majority, but used a late-race charge to end his race in the runner-up spot.
“We got the pole in qualifying and we felt really good about the car,” Deuser stated. “The car was good in the beginning of the race. We just couldn’t get by a couple people as early as we wanted to. For the first couple laps on that final restart, we had something for him, but after that he started to drive away a little bit and that was pretty much all I had. All in all, second’s a good day. (Cole Williams) has been winning them all, so second place to him ain’t too bad, but I’d sure love to win it.”
For Williams, it was a special win for him and his team. The track is located 18 miles from his hometown of Borden, Indiana, and his friends and family came out in full force to cheer him to victory.
“It’s awesome, especially doing it in front of my family and friends that don’t get to come to the races very often,” Williams said. “We had a huge support system come out tonight and everyone’s been looking forward to this race since we put it on the schedule. To be able to come out here and honestly, we’ve had bad luck for about six or seven races now with mechanical failures or getting caught up in a wreck at Bristol, so to get the monkey off my back and actually win a race was a relief, so hopefully we can carry the momentum going into our next race and hopefully do the same thing.”
JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour points leader Mason Keller finished third, while defending series champion Jack Dossey III and current ARCA/CRA Super Series points leader Josh Brock rounded out the top five.
The series will be in action next at the Baer Field Motorsports Park in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Saturday, June 30.
-Story by Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Unofficial Results
Salem Speedway (IN) – June 16, 2018
1 46 Cole Williams
2 14 Corey Deuser
3 29 Mason Keller
4 20 Jack Dossey III
5 17 Josh Brock
6 12 Joe Graf Jr
7 53 Zachary Tinkle
8 47 Dakota Stroup
9 15 Brett Robinson
10 88 Trever McCoy
11 28 Jack Smith
12 15C Trey Craig
13 55 Jared Smith
14 6 Blake Hillard
15 23 Mandy Chick